Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stylin' Down Sierra Madre Boulevard With Mr. Shear

Yesterday's Sierra Madre 4th of July Parade was the first one John Shear had ever seen. The Independence Day weekend is, of course, a big one for Santa Anita Racetrack, and John has always had to be at work there in the past. But yesterday he did get to finally see the big parade, and as Sierra Madre's very first Hometown Hero. Riding down Sierra Madre Boulevard to the acclaim of 100's of his fellow Sierra Madreans.

And the experience was a gratifying one for all of us who had worked so hard to get John Shear this recognition, something that he so obviously deserved. The man who put everything he had on the line to save the life a small girl from the slashing hooves of a runaway thoroughbred racehorse was somehow not immediately embraced by the Prom Committee. It took the strongly voiced support of 100's of his fellow Sierra Madreans to get them to finally see the light.

Google the name of John Shear and you will come across literally hundreds and hundreds of articles detailing John's heroism at Santa Anita that fateful day a few short months back. He might be our Hometown Hero, but he is also one to the rest of the world as well.

We figured that had John been shut out of the parade due to someone's unfortunate personal political agenda, he would still have been a part of it all as MaryAnn MacGillivray's guest in her car. The sign honoring him would have read "John Shear: The Peoples' Choice," an equally fitting one for a man who had seized the imaginations and won the hearts of so many in this town. And judging by the spontaneous applause and calls from well-wishers thanking him for being a hero yesterday, he would have still easily won the crowd without any official sanction.

The entire mile and a half ride down Sierra Madre Boulevard was filmed by Joe Chili from Horse Racing TV (click here). A documentary film for HRTV has been in the works for several months now, with noted producer Amy Zimmerman pulling it all together. Amy has produced quite a few biographical documentaries, particularly for television. And her current project is to celebrate the achievements of John Shear. The finished product will be released as a highly publicized feature on HRTV, where we will all get to check it out when it is released this fall.

And who knows? If you were at the parade yesterday, and you cheered loudly enough, you could very well end up being a part of it as well. According to Joe Chili the portion filmed here in Sierra Madre will be an important segment of this filmed biography of John's life. Which is only fitting for the hometown that stood up to celebrate the hero who is also one of their own.

Urban Wildlife Nature 911

You might remember Cam Stone as one of the leaders in the fight to save the Arcadia Woodlands. Cam rallied hundreds of people in the fight to save an ancient oak and sycamore woodland from Mike Antonovich's war on wildlife, and while this effort failed in the end, it did help to create a network of concerned individuals, news organizations and blogs such as this one. All of whom hope to be able to stop the next acts of wanton destruction by the County of Los Angeles and the disingenuous crooks who run it.

Yesterday Cam Stone sent out an "Urban Wildlife Nature 911" as it seems Antonovich and his DPW have returned to the scene of their crime at the Arcadia Woodlands in order to further expand the already considerable destruction there. Here is what Cam has to say:

I just returned from a picture taking excursion into the Flood Control area in Arcadia. I discovered the destruction yesterday while walking my dog. Many thanks to Lori Paul who received a dispirited call from me yesterday while I was viewing the destruction and wrote down the description of what I was seeing. This is another example of the DPW's scorched earth policies.

The area in question is less than 1/2 mile from the former Arcadia Woodlands, and is to the north and west of the Santa Anita Debris Basin. I spoke to a neighbor whose yard backs up to the area and he said that the clearance crews were in working last Friday and Saturday. He said that this is the first time in at least 25 years that this area has been cleared. Two very large pine trees were cut down immediately next to his backyard fence.

I have no problem with fire clearance if it is done properly. First of all, this is a job for trained crews using hand tools, not heavy grading equipment. Cutting down 10-15 mature shade trees actually exacerbates the problem promoting the growth of non-native grasses and weeds that will turn into fuel much earlier in the season.

The scraping and destruction of large patches of native and non-native Prickly Pear is unconscionable. Not only dies it not burn and provides a fire barrier, but it also provides habitat for many rare species. A large patch of native Prickly Pear still exists at the northern edge of the destroyed area. I am positive that this patch will be the first thing to be scraped tomorrow morning (7/5) when the crews return to work. One of the pictures that I have posted (click here) shows what I believe to be an active fox den right in the middle of it.

If you can do nothing else PLEASE don't let them kill these foxes!

I believe that the clearance crews will return tomorrow to clear out the remaining area on the west side of the stream bed. About 1/3 of a mile of this access road (which ends at Wilderness Park) has not yet been cleared. This section of the road is less than 50 feet from the currently flowing stream coming out of the Big Santa Anita Canyon. DF&G should definitely have a look at this site before any further work is done!

Cam Stone

Anyone who was at yesterday's parade might have noticed L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich waving from his car in the practiced politico style. Trying to convince everyone here of his concern for Sierra Madre. Or at least its votes. While just next door in Arcadia he is trying to completely wipe from the face of the earth what little remains of once was one of the few wild places left in the County.

If people had only known what this guy has done to us. Who knows, instead of disinterestedly waving back they might have thrown acorns at him instead.



  1. Thanks to all who were out to watch the parade. Thanks to all who helped John yesterday.
    He was so very happy to enjoy such an honor. He really enjoyed the day!

    We would like to thank our friend Gary Hood, who promoted John for this honor from the get-go.
    Gary took photos and passed out hundreds of post cards promoting John for the parade.

    As many of our friends know, John not only is recovering from the injuries he sustained in the March 12th accident at Santa Anita, but a very unfortunate bout with the "SHINGLES".
    Anyone who has had shingles or knows a loved one who has, knows what an insidious, nasty virus this is.
    I just found out another Sierra Madre friend, GPC member Ken Anhalt has been fighting a bout with shingles as well. I spoke to his wife the other day and Ken is doing better. We wish him well!
    Two of the nicest guys in town, Ken and John, both had to have the damn shingles!
    Get well soon, Ken and John.

  2. I was so proud of John Shear yesterday at the parade. For me it was the highlight of the day. He has gone through so much, and yet there he was smiling and waving. I'm so glad everything worked out.

  3. John Shear is a wonderful man.
    And I also want to thank Gary Hood. I sent out one of those cards, and distributed others to friends to send. Gary footed the bill.

  4. Honoring John Shear was the right thing to do, so of course it took an organized effort of Sierra Madre citizens to wake the Prom Committee up to that fact.

  5. I wonder if PETA would be interested in the situation going on now in Arcadia.

  6. Thanks to Cam Stone for the news about the fox den in danger.
    Antonovich can get an email that he will never read, but that a staffer will tally, at:

  7. Were Not Done Yet saidJuly 5, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    If the "Foundation SPERO" is charging Sierra Madre $5,000.00 for the cancelled Tia Parade walk, a thorough examination of the process must be made. Susan Cliifton, a SPERO Officer, is already a Sierra Madre Employee and makes this whole incident a conflict of interest. I would assume SPERO negotiates a fee from "Have Trunk Will Travel", and marks it up for a charge to the City. If that is the case, the entire fee or the marked up portion of the fee should be absorbed by SPERO

    But if the above is true there is a "conflict of interest between Elaine Agiular, Susan Clifton and an awarded contract, clearly illegal, especially since this whole thing was done in secret. The "Secret Committee" becomes a ruse to disguise an illegal activity.

    Then there is the question is this contract typical of our City Administration and its business practices. If so there is a major need for an audit of City Contracts disclosing who, on both ends of a contract or fee, was involved and the possibility of "double dipping". Anyway for Susan Clifton to be paid a salary by Sierra Madre and then charge the City for a service, partly owned by her then there is a major problem.

    There is more going on here than we know.

  8. 8:18 it can't hurt to send PETA an email.

    I sure hope that they've had a big increase in donations from Sierra Madre in the last two days!

  9. From what we here in town saw of PETA's organization and research, it's a safe bet that they already have a file on the Arcadia Woodlands and the brave actions of those who tried to save them.

  10. You know what's a good word to describe the Prom Committee?
    They are feckless.
    Very much in keeping with the council members Mosca, Moran and Walsh, the Feckless Party.

  11. Your Goose are CookedJuly 5, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    You are never too far from Sierra Madre even if you are 500 miles away when the computer can get you to the Tattler. Thank you again Sir Eric for keeping us all posted on the parade of the century in Small Town USA.

    It will be interesting to see what coverage Miss Susie will saynotsay.

    Will anyone ask our humble mayor to sum up with brevity, in 3 short sentences WHY the waste of money, and how could they spend this on an abused elephant, and dare want housing for the poor in a beautiful old museum, a un-necessay toilet, a water system for development paid by all of us, a parking lot to crowd out the charm, and your arrogance towards Mrs. MacGillivary on the dais, claiming you are all civil.

    Pluz do not tell me it comes from another budget. Not going to go over this time Mr. Tammany.

  12. PETA, as good as they are can not use their resources protecting Trees. That my friends is the Sierra Club, and Green Peace, amung others. The Fox den issue is one PETA would most certianly be interested in. Click PETA Email Contact above, or use the link below I have provided to contact them.


    Neuroblast Films

  13. Eliane Aguilar is the worst thing that this town has had to deal with since Tammy Gates. She is a crook. An audit is needed NOW. She needs to be fired Now, before she leaves on her own. I heard that she is leaving with Sandy, the sooner the better. But if fired it will be harder to get the next job other than CoG.

    Elaine, Please do us a favor leave Now!!!

  14. The continued assualt on Santa Anita Dam environs is a tradgety in the making. I will certainly try and draw attention to it. However I again ask, where is the City of Arcadia? Is their City Government mute and deaf? Are the school kids at Highland Oaks indifferent? Does Arcadia have a City Manager and Mayor? Where are these officials when their City is unger assult? Who cares about a lonely Fox Den? Certainly not the folks in Arcadia.

    This says a lot about the people who live in Arcadia; their developers, reale estate tycoons, Aisan Community, Henry Nunez, and businesses. Do they even care?

  15. Mike Antonovich is an ass that is destroying our land. RECALL the SOB. The word needs to be spread, the guy is out of touch with the will of the people. I will never vote for him, I hope everyone will do the same. If he has his way, Sierra Madre is next.

  16. The Elephant Women of Sierra Madre
    Elaine Aguilar
    Kathy Childs
    Linda Knowles
    Susan Clifton
    Heidi Hartman
    Colleen McKernan

    The Elephant Men (and I use that word loosely) of Sierra Madre
    Joe Mosca
    Matt Bosse
    John Buchanan

    The nonprofit Foundation that ordered the Elephant
    Spero Foundation

    Let us be like the elephant Tai, and never forget.

  17. Foundation SPERO needs to be looked into with the G4, who is always getting their messy hands into anything that is immoral.

    (Actually, prom committee is too kind. Some have class and pick out great music and know how to decorate a gym and have super cullinary taste for food. Why not just say it like it is: SMWM:Sierra Madre Wannabe Mobsters: They think they rule and are tough and take their lead from a West Coast Irishman. It is again mis-used power.)

    They kept MaryAnn out of the loop because they knew she just knows you do not do anything that stupid in a parade. But, anything MaryAnn says they just roll thier eyes and act like children.

    Why is anyone surprised they tried such a childish and insensitive stunt.

    It will be fun to watch them continue to hang themselves.

    And, the people blindly believing will continue to wear their shades and laugh at those who know what is going on.

    We can sit and watch them make fools of themselves but not robbing us blind and making fools of us.

  18. All of these clowns must hang out together, play golf, talk trash about the people that oppose their rape, pillage, and burn mentality. Mike Antonovich - how has he held office as long as he has with his bad attitude, elitist air about him, and screwing the environment. God help us!

  19. Susan Clifton and Elaine Aguilar would be smart to dip into their own bank account and pay the bill for this canceled disaster and the plastic blow up dinasaur that replaced it and be done with it.

    If either item appears on any budget reimbursement list they should go to jail.

  20. Walked the parade with another group so did not get to see the hometown hero JOHN SHEAR so am glad to see this great photo and read the story. Did get a hug from the sideline by the still sweaty John Crawford so I know it was hot in that convertible and that JOHN SHEAR would be smiling through it all!

    Hurray to the "People's Choice Committee" for accomplishing this!

  21. Send an e-mail to John Buchanan and Elaine Aguilar. Demand a report from the 4th of July Committee deliniating how much they spent and where the money came from. Demand to know if the shortfall from the 2010 4th of July Parade has been made up or carried over. Demand to see the donations channeled through the Sierra Madre Community Foundation and the Spero Foundation.

    Do it today! If you copy three or more Council Members on your e-mail, it becomes a matter of public record.

  22. And while you're sending e-mails to the City Council, demand that they investigate the ethics of Elaine Aguilar, City Manager, Elissa Weaver, Community Services Director, and Community Services employee Susan Clifton in trying to hide from City Council members, the Community Services Commission and the public an illegal entry into the 4th of July Parade.

  23. Apparently in SierraMadre some decisions are made by the City Council, and others are handled by the people they like to party with.

  24. Enough of letting things slide.
    Antonovich could have prevented the loss of the Arcadia Woodlands, and all the wildlife that depended on that habitat, and yet he has the brashness to show up in a parade?
    Joe Mosca lies repeatedly, and still wins elections?
    John Buchanan makes bad choices consistently and yet is listened to as though he has good ideas?
    And let's not forget, Bart Doyle is o record in the California supreme court as a liar, and yet his influence is still very much active in any of the dirty tricks the Civility party pulls.

  25. If you think things are bad now, wait'll Buchanan hangs 'em up and we fall under the rule of Mosca, Moran and Walsh. Cocktail socialite rule is the future of Sierra Madre. These people will run this city into the ground.

  26. That is a nightmare 10:05, but in this town, just because somebody isn't seen doesn't mean they're not calling the shots.
    The three stooges are just that - stooges.

  27. Word has is that some are claiming the use of the notorious Have Trunk Will Travel was all a hoax,was never gonna happen.

  28. Probably the same people who claim the United States never landed on the moon and Elvis works at the Valero station.

  29. I hear that 11:21.
    What a ridiculous face saving effort!
    Elephant abusers Have Trunk Will Travel is $5,000 richer, Sierra Madre is known as a town of animal hating throwbacks to the 1850's, but it was just a prank.

  30. Ah, the DIRTS rally the forces around their own. Deny, deny, deny.

  31. It occurred to me as I saw several non Sierra Madre friends this morning that the Prom Committee was even dumber in trying to get an abused elephant in the parade just after the movie "Like Water for Elephants" came out. We have to repeat: what were they thinking?

    It was so nice to be able to cheer for our Hometown Hero John Shear, and our Peace Corps volunteers!

  32. Quite a conspiracy if you think about it. There is poor John Buchanan standing before the TV news cameras in Memorial Park saying that the elephant was canceled because of security risks and all that controversy. Matt Bosse, too! Man, this one went really deep!

  33. But don'cha know that if the DIRTS and the Downtown Investors Club says it, it's gotta be true? Have they ever lied to us before?

  34. 11:36 am, don't forget our local veterans! It's always good to see them and we can't thank them too often for their service.

  35. Wonder how it's going in the Arcadia Woodlands this morning.

  36. 11:53, nothing on the Urbanwild network yet.

  37. If we are only permitted 3 minutes to speak then Johnny B should only be permitted 3 short simple sentences. someone ask him what happened to our $5000.

    (does he know the definition of a simple sentence?)

  38. channel 3 watcherJuly 5, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    No, Buchanan the Bonds Guy does not know how to speak briefly. He has confused length of remarks with intelligence.

    My guess is that he will not say anything at all. Another very bad action treated as though it is minor and not worth civic attention.

  39. The Fourth of July Committee made a little "oops" over animal torture, and there probably will be no public apology, no donation from the Spero group to PETA, no council recognition of the disastrous actions of that committee this year, and their shocking financial mismanagement last year. Just a shrug and an "oops"

  40. What is the connection between the outfit Have Trunk Will Travel and The Spero Foundation (dont forget the 'The')? It seems highly unlikely that they they chose to hire this bunch on a whim.

    Also, it IS unlikely that The Sierra Madre Foundation could be spending any of their funds on the likes of hiring stuff for the 4th of July unless there is some loosely configured catagory that people have donated to called "anything the City needs."

  41. Let's see now, who was it who said, "the coverup is worse than the crime"?

    The last big Buchanan/CC-1 coverup was the water rate hike... and what did that get them? A half a**ed answer to a lawsuit by a City Attorney who quit?

    He'd be much better off just coming clean! Just tell the residents what happened and what is going to be done about it so it never happens again.

  42. petition carrierJuly 5, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    I'm willing to call the people who found they could rent an abused animal from Have Trunk Will Travel shallow and lazy rather than mean.How far do you have to look on a google search for renting elephants before you come up with something that would horrify any decent person?Like the rest of the supposedly civil Downtown Investment Club folks, they look at only what is on the surface and display a rather remarkable lack of ability to think.

  43. It was all about how it would make them look. "Yes, I brought in the elephant. I was the one who did it. Inthought it would be great for the community."

    Nothing more.

  44. Okay guys, who's going to ask how this happened at the next CC meeting? Someone who writes, but doesn't speak, please step up to the podium!

  45. Here is a question. Which is more effective, speaking from the public podium at a City Council meeting, or putting out information on The Tattler?

  46. Tattler, I hope eventually you'll be able to tell us about the money. How much did the committee lose this year? Or did they get enough to make up for the debts from last year?
    In the business world this whole disgraceful thing with the elephant never would have happened, because that committee would have been out on their keesters after the mess thay made the year before!

  47. I'm thinking that The Spero Foundation and the Sierra Madre Community Foundation are money laundering operations for the DIRTS. Only DIRTS are involved. DIRTS are out canvassing for donations. DIRTS determine to whom/what the money should be donated. DIRTS run the 4th of July Committee. The 4th of July Committee asks that donations be sent to the Sierra Madre Community Foundation with 4th of July Committee on the memo line. Money laundering. Under the auspices of the IRS.

  48. The Spero Foundation does lots of work for survivors of Cancer and their families. They have a very successful program out of Methodist Hospital at no cost to the patients and families. I hope this incident does not mar the fact that they are a legitimate group who are doing good things. I'm don't know how they got tied to the elephant incident, but I think we should get the real story before we put them in the category of DIRTS.

  49. 2:08, it takes both modes to get their attention. And it takes letters and e-mail to the City Council and the City Manager. And it takes more than one or two residents complaining. With a single resident taking to the podium they nod their heads and tell staff to look into it... If it's the same residents time after time they just yawn. Gather up your friends and neighbors and make an evening of it at the podium. There's safety and power in numbers. Just think PETA + Tattler + TAI. Power in numbers.

  50. Maybe The Spero Foundation should issue a press release telling us how they are connected to the elephant, or not.

  51. Whoever is responsible for bringing the elephant fiasco upon this city is now under deep cover. They're waiting for people to past all this before they emerge from wherever they're hiding.

  52. 2:18, during the One Carter hearings hundreds of people attended, hundreds spoke out.
    Get it?
    Many, many people stopped believing in the efficacy of speaking at city council meetings.

  53. The 4/5 council majority walks into that building with their agendas and minds made up.It's foolishness to think you can say anything to change them.

  54. You don't have to go back to One Crater to find an example of a Sierra Madre City Council ignoring large numbers of people. Just think back to the water rate hike protests - thousands of signatures, overflowing room - and the Gang of 4 did exactly what they had intended to do from the start. Raise rates to pay bond debt.
    Does anyone seriously doubt Brown Act violations on that one?

  55. I find listening to the Gang of 4 to be insulting. They do not tell the truth. They are a waste of my time. Why should I have to sit there and listen to them? This is not where the peoples business is done any more.

  56. I follow council meetings pretty closely, but I cannot imagine doing so without a mute button.

  57. From hidden reasons for a water rate increase to secret elephants that even city councilmembers didn't know about. Yeah, they're transparent alrighty.

  58. From today's Patch:

    "I had the good fortune of walking in the parade with the dogs from Pasadena Humane Society and can say from firsthand experience that the road was too hot in the mid-day sun for our dogs to make it through the whole parade, so we had to hand carry them or put them in our air-conditioned mobile unit which was following them. A city street is absolutely no place for a large animal such as an elephant to be walking on for the sake of entertainment. And I should also say nothing makes me happier than knowing that Circus Vargas, a traveling circus, has gone to an animal-free circus. Thank you, Sierra Madre, for not allowing more abuse of these majestic creatures!"

    I thought the 4th of July Parade Application expressly forbids animals from marching in the parade. So there were dogs and a pack train...

  59. The Prom Committee makes their own rules. And since they operate independently of the city they can do anything they want. They're special.

  60. I'm glad somebody is reading AOL.
    Must get mighty lonely there.

  61. AOL now has a story up about the further destruction in Arcadia. I guess they can't cover any story until they see it on the Tattler.

  62. Still no news on the urbanwild site - which makes me think it isn't good.

  63. Check out the PETA website for the action alert that discusses Sierra Madre, and encourages more emails to help Tai and her fellow captives:


  64. Here's the PETA letter sent to their activist members:
    On Sunday morning, we contacted you letting you know that we had just learned of the city of Sierra Madre's plans to force an abused elephant to march in its Fourth of July parade. Despite the late notice on a holiday weekend, more than 1,000 of you took action to urge city officials to cancel the plans! And your efforts paid off—together, we were able to persuade the city do to the compassionate thing and take a stand against elephant abuse by canceling its plans to have the elephant in the parade.

    This is a great success, but our work is not done. Even though the video footage showing trainers with Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) as they beat and shock elephants has been widely publicized, California institutions continue to hire the shady outfit. In addition to the Santa Ana Zoo, which offers rides on elephants provided by HTWT, the Orange County Fair (which starts next week,) plans to host elephant rides with HTWT as well.

    Please urge Santa Ana Zoo and Orange County Fair officials to follow Sierra Madre's compassionate lead by refusing to endorse cruelty and halting the elephant rides.

    If you go on the site, you'll find links for the emails.

  65. The choice to cancel was made because of compassion awakened in the hearts of the mayor, staff & 4th of J committee?

    They were just running scared.

  66. If the committe won't admit what a terribe mstake they made, how can they lay claim to the good light PETA is putting on them?

  67. " . . . except dogs on a leash . . . is rule #6. So they broke their own rule with the pack train.

  68. PETA has nothing to gain from beating up on Johnny B. It is best to get the job done and leave the local authorities a fig leaf to hide their shame.

  69. True, 5:57, but I doubt they have shame.
    They probably have irritation.

  70. Just heard that the Arcadia Woodlands fox den is OK for today.

  71. "If people had only known what this guy has done to us."

    . If it wasn't for this blog, people wouldn't know about a lot of things being done to them. I looked for media coverage of the parade fiasco, and only found Channel 5's stories. Nothing in the Star News, or other locals. Is that correct? Or did I miss something.

    5:31 thanks for the info, I sent my letter to the OC Fair organizers

    They say that 'civic fatigue' sets in when hundreds of citizens work and write and turn out to speak, only to see their voices ignored as politicos and corporations do whatever they want and no one stops them.

    People get worn out, frustrated, disgusted, and turn off the whole business. They stop fighting. Similar to animals that have been tortured into submission. So Antonovich riding in a parade that featured an abused elephant, makes a lot of sense. Those tactics have worked for him.

    I'm grateful for this site and the people who continue to take action for what we all believe in, but it sure gets overwhelming at times. 9:56 AM you said it very well.


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